Published April 11, 2024

In 2019, Open Invention Network (OIN), Microsoft, and The Linux Foundation sponsored Unified Patents’ newly created Open Source Zone. The goal was to leverage prior art to challenge patents owned by patent assertion entities that could impact the open-source software community. 

Microsoft, The Linux Foundation, and OIN are marking their fifth year in funding Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone. Since their initial founding of the OS Zone, OIN, The Linux Foundation, and Microsoft have invested substantially to protect open-source software from PAEs. The OS Zone receives additional support from Amazon, Apple, Mercedes-Benz, and Meta, among others.

“As open source technology continues its inexorable growth into new markets, PAEs have increasingly targeted the OSS community,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. “We see significant value in partnering again with The Linux Foundation and Microsoft, to support the Unified Patents OS Zone. We are also pleased to welcome new companies that are providing financial support to continue funding the OS Zone’s operations. More needs to be done, however, because the stakes are becoming higher as better funded PAEs are placing acute focus on critical OSS projects that enable widespread innovation such as cloud native.”

In the last four years, the OS Zone’s work has successfully challenged more than 54 PAE patents that threatened open-source software technologies. 

“Across the spectrum of open source technologies, speed of innovation and quality of software development is driven by collaborators working towards a common goal, organized through a project ecosystem that produces artifacts made freely available to everyone,” said Jim Zemlin Executive Director at The Linux Foundation. “We are pleased to continue to support the OS Zone and the removal of poor quality patents exploited against users of OSS projects and technologies.”

“Companies building products using open source technologies must help protect open source communities from threats posed by abusers of low-quality patents,” said Justin Colannino, Associate General Counsel for Open Source at Microsoft. “We applaud the innovative approach taken by the OS Zone and call on other companies to support solutions that protect open source innovation from targeted threats.” 

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